Sometimes the Stars Align.

After Sunday's session at the Dome, I rushed home to shower and get the daughter ready for Mighty Mites. Usually this involves frantically running around finding stuff she left strewn around the house the previous week. My stuff? With the exception of my ski boots (which get very, very stiff when cold-soaked for a week), I leave it all in the car. Makes rolling out the door and off to the hill just that much more efficient. I don't have to think too much.
 
When we got down to Alyeska, I realized my helmet, goggles and ski gloves weren't in the car. My children, who were tasked with cleaning it after leaving trash strewn across the interiors of multiple vehicles, had removed them to an undisclosed location. I did find a pair of mismatched ski gloves under a seat, which were missed during the thorough cleaning- likely because they were obscured by a McDonalds bag and several school permission slips.
 
With 15 minutes to spare before I was to meet my group, I was limited to on-hill shops to replace the items. Some hurried shopping and $370.50 later I was outfitted properly, making it one of my more expensive ski days in recent memory. Since I only had 4 ski helmets at home and they all weren't cutting edge, I really needed the added advanced technology this one provided.
 
Once on the hill with the group (who failed to notice how stylish I was). we enjoyed one of those rare Alyeska days where the snow and light line up perfectly. All day I pushed my little group of pre-teen girls to ski increasingly more difficult terrain. The bumps were soft and the light allowed them to see what was coming (another rarity at Alyeska), so I ignored the protests and sent them into the steep, un-groomed goodness.
 
The day capped off with a trip down the open portion of the North Face. As you enter it, you're greeted with a double black diamond sign telling of the avalanche danger and recommending beacons. In reality, we had been skiing steeper and more technical terrain all day than were present in this section. Only one of the girls had ever been past the rope line, but a couple of my hard-chargers dove in (including my daughter- I'm so proud), shaming the rest to follow. While there were some scraped off, icy sections, my little gang of 9 year olds wove their way down the hill with varying degrees of competency and confidence.
 
I'd by lying if I didn't mention there was a significant, frozen-in-place meltdown with one of the kids. I can't think of any activity I've done with that age group that didn't include one. Maybe it's me. The ski patrollers that were sweeping the hill as they closed it (we were the last ones out there for the day) tried to talk her down. Some "we'll just leave you here and pick you up next week" tough love from her sensitive ski coach (this girl has a flair for the dramatic) got her moving again. She had the skill set, but not the confidence. She thought of the North Face as someplace people died or were seriously maimed. I explained that ski patrol likely carts more people off the bunny hill than the North Face, and that she had skied harder terrain all day. Eventually she made a few turns, got down the hill safely, and as we skied along the easy trail exiting the North Face she talked non-stop about how confident she was now that she had "conquered" the mountain (I wasn't going to burst her bubble). That's an experience I can build on.
 
For me, that alone was worth $370.50.

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